This Many Boyfriends - This Many Boyfriends - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

This Many Boyfriends - This Many Boyfriends

by Andy Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2012-10-11

After a fine handful of singles and an EP, This Many Boyfriends' debut album has finally arrived. With Ryan Jarman (The Cribs) at the controls, the band have already had the seal of approval from todays indie-rock royalty and I'm pleased to report that the album more than lives up to the band's no doubt sizable record collections. Far from being a collection of disjointed influences and shameless pilfering, however, the album is a heartfelt, fun and fresh tribute to beloved record collections across the country and the love and time we invest in them.

The album opens with a song named after but not really about Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club bassist Tina Weymouth. It's a song about those of us who find it easier to communicate through mixtapes and song lyrics: "You love pop songs about love more than being in love in the first place/ That's why you took her all the way to the shop on your first date".

The song references albums by Orange Juice, The Lemonheads, Dexys Midnight Runners, Jens Lekman and Talking Heads, with Richard singing: "And if this is a nervous breakdown, then there's no consequence/ At least then I'll go crazy to the sounds of Stop Making Sense". It's a song about loving music and occasionally doubting your sanity. And we can all relate to that.

'Young Lovers Go Pop!' was the first This Many Boyfriends single (after the Getting a Life With… EP), and in some ways remains the band's signature tune. Heard here in its re-recorded, Jarman-produced form, it's lost none of its vibrancy and Supergrass-esque energy. There's plenty of heart here too as Richard sings: "I love you far too much to pretend/ Everytime we say goodbye at the station." It's a pretty special song and if you haven't heard it yet then you're in for a treat.

'I Should Be (a Communist)' finds the band combining The Smiths trademark jangle with playfully revolutionary lyrics: "I used to think it mattered/ If I wore grey or black/ I know it's so much clearer/ When you just put it back". It comes across like a less serious McCarthy or The Redskins and a genuine tribute to all things C86. Richard manages a fairly decent 'Morrissey circa The Smiths' wail too.

'Number One' is a sweetly lethargic indie-pop tune with a particularly summery guitar-lick delivered from lead guitarist Dan (special powers listed as solos in the 'Starling' fanzine). It's a song which captures the band's irrepressible sense of optimism well: "We were tired and useless/ But reinvigorated in our trainers." Next up, an old b-side gets a dusting down and it's good to know that more people will hear just how great a song 'You Don't Need to Worry' is. The song finds Richard offering comfort and advice to a effortlessly beautiful melody, "You don't need to feel useless or stupid, no/ It'll be ok, things will be fine/ So let's just sit down, be happy tonight".

The band picks up the pace next with the irresistibly catchy pop delights of 'I Don't Like You ('Cos You Don't Like the Pastels)'. The song finds Richard drawing a metaphorical line-in-the-sand: "I even let you smash my Cribs singles box set/ but when you took a hammer, to my copy of 'Truck, Train, Tractor'/ Well, I just died". 'Sometimes' finds the band exploring more reflective tones with a slightly shoegaze feel to the music as Richard sings: "We spent our lives in daydreams/ but God knows what that means."

'Starling' is quite possibly the bands finest song and it's difficult to hear it without thinking of their late guitarist (and friend to many of us at Soundblab) Pete Sykes, who co-wrote the song. The circumstances make the songs sentiments all the more poignant especially as they sing the songs central refrain: "And we will live together for a long time." The song stands as a fitting tribute to Pete and it's a compliment to his abilities that the song still manages to sound so hopeful and inspiring.

'That's What Diaries Are For' finds the band closing their diaries and telling us: "We all got bullied at school/ Some of us just took it better." It's a brilliantly addictive indie-pop tune with more energy and humour than the whole of the Radio One playlist. The album comes to a close with the noisy melancholy of 'Everything', managing to sneak some My Bloody Valentine guitars into the bands immaculate pot of influences.

I have barely had this album off my headphones since first hearing it. If you love C86, the decent side of Britpop and pure, unadulterated indie-pop tunes than you'll find plenty to obsess over here. Show them you really care and write their name all over your pencil case. This Many Boyfriends love music as much as you do and you'd be hard pressed to find a more joyous, genuine and unpretentious indie-pop album this year.

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